A Brazilian commission investigating the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has called for criminal charges against President Jair Bolsonaro.
Seven of the eleven senators on the commission voted to support the recommendations of a 1,288-page report on the crisis that condemned Brazil’s populist leader and his actions.
The report alleges that Bolsonaro’s government allowed the lethal virus to spread through the country in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity. It recommends indicting the president personally with nine crimes, including incitement to crime, charlatanism, and crimes against humanity.
Senators hugged each other in celebration as the announcement was made.
The documents that follow the six-month investigation will be sent to the Attorney General, who will have 30 days to announce any action.
Attorney General Augusto Aras is considered an ally of the president and is not expected to pursue charges.
Moments after the Brazilian senate panel announced its 7-4 vote, the former guy released a statement endorsing Bolsonaro’s re-election.
More than 605,000 Brazilians have died of the virus, second only to the U.S. in highest number of deaths in the world during the pandemic.
The report primarily cited the government’s reckless response to the pandemic, including a deliberate exposure of its people to the virus in masses; the discouragement of sanitary procedures including mask-wearing and social distancing; and the use of ineffective treatments such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
The latest poll shows that 53% of Brazilians view Bolsonaro’s presidency to be “bad or awful,” the highest disapproval since his election in 2019.